Hemalurgy | Frequently Asked Questions

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How big are the Inquisitors’ spikes?

I imagined them the size of railroad spikes.


Why do some spike removals kill (dual eye, or central spike) but most don't? 

For the same reason that a bullet through one part of the body will kill you, but getting shot somewhere else won't. The physical form of a person who has undergone a Hemalurgic transformation is no longer what we think of it. The direct connection to Preservation starts keeping them alive. (Imagine stapling someone's soul to another person's soul, their life essence, then stapling that to the power of creation itself, giving you a conduit directly to power, letting you leech it and steal it.) That power keeps you alive, despite the wounds. Some of the time, the other staples are enough to keep you alive, even if one is pulled out. Others are too important.


Would Hemalurgy work on plants or animals?

Yes, it would work on animals, not on plants though. 


What were Alendi's "Piercings of the Hero"?

This is part of the manipulation Ruin did during the classical era on Scadrial, before the coming of the Lord Ruler. Piercings, and Hemalurgy, were part of the world before the coming of Allomancy in its modern form. Then, they were seen as a means of communicating with deity--which, indeed, they were. Ruin manipulated this to make sure any Hero of Ages who came would be under his influence. The reference is included mostly to indicate that yes, Alendi was under Ruin's influence. He ignored Rashek, though. (At least, right up to the moment when everything went 'wrong' for Ruin, when Rashek killed his chosen Hero of Ages.)


How did Inquisitors find Atium mistings?

They spike the drinks at one of the nobility's balls with trace amounts of Atium, then cause a bit disturbance. (Often, the Inquisitors themselves arriving will do it) and burn bronze and watch for brief pulses. The body will burn metals instinctively if it can, which has been shown quite often in the series. This is also how they get a lot of their secret information about who is a Misting and who isn't. It's not a perfect method, since you have to watch for Copperclouds messing things up, but it is effective once in a while.

Any time an obligator who is not a Misting joins the Ministry, he is unknowingly given a larger chunk of atium and then forced into a series of rituals that will drain him physically and get the body to react and burn the metal. This was how Yomen was discovered.


Before, Inquisitors had supernatural healing. How did they get the Feruchemists for the spike? Were the keepers not so hidden after all?

The keepers have been hunted for years. Much like skaa Allomancers, they were often captured and taken by the Inquisitors. It didn't happen nearly as often, of course. Two things to remember, however: Not all Inquisitors had the same spikes, and spikes CAN be reused with much less effectiveness. The longer they are outside of a body, the more their power degrades. 


Is there a rationale to how Hemalurgic powers are distributed? I tried to look for a system, but they seem rather randomly distributed. For example, the spike which steals Allomantic powers for a particular quadrant is not always in one particular spot.

That is correct, it's not always in one particular spot. None of them are. I used as my model on this magic system the concept of acupuncture and pressure points. Placing a Hemalurgic spike is a very delicate and specific art. Imagine there being a different overlay on a human body, like a new network of nerves, representing lines, points, and 'veins' of the soul's spiritual makeup.

What is happening with Hemalurgy, essentially, is that you're driving a spike through a specific point on a person's body and ripping off a piece of their soul. It sticks to the spike on the Spiritual Realm. Then, you place that spike on someone else in a specific place (not exactly the same place, but on the right spiritual pressure point) and 'hot wire' the spirit to give it Hemalurgy or Feruchemy. It's like you're fooling the spiritual DNA, creating a work-around. Or, in some cases, changing the spirit to look like something else, which has the immediate effect of distorting the body and transforming it into a new creature.

Hemalurgy is a very brutal way of making changes like this, though, so it often has monstrous effects. (Like with the koloss.) And in most cases, it leaves a kind of 'hole' in the spirit's natural defenses, which is how Ruin was able to touch the souls of Hemalurgists directly.


What does Atium do Hemalurgically?

Remember that the tables--and the ars Arcanum--are 'in world' creations. (Or, at least, in-universe.) The knowledge represented in them is as people understand it, and can always have flaws. That was the case with having atium on the table in the first place, and that was the case with people (specifically the Inquisitors) trying to figure out what atium did Hemalurgically.

Their experiments (very expensive ones) are what determined that atium (which they thought was just one of the sixteen metals) granted the Allomantic Temporal powers. What they didn't realize is that atium (used correctly) could steal ANY of the powers. Think of it as a wild card. With the right knowledge, you could use it to mimic any other spike. It works far better than other spikes as well.


If an Allomancer is turned into a koloss, would they keep their powers?

That's actually something I've thought about. An Allomancer turned into a koloss would keep their powers because, as you'll recall, an Allomancer turned in to an Inquisitor retains their powers. Whether they would be able to always know how to use them remains to be seen, but you could definitely have a koloss Allomancer if you built them right.


Are hemalurgic spikes fabrials? Is a body that has been spiked a fabrial? Are Koloss and Kandra also something similar?

No, actually. Fabrial means specifically a bit of investiture that has been trapped by a gemstone and then modified to do something else.  Hemalurgy is its own thing--though there is a slight similarity.  In most Hemalurgy, investiture keyed to the identity of someone (a bit of a soul) is ripped off, and then magically grafted onto someone else's soul.  Not the same, though I can see the confusion. Koloss and Kandra are similar, though in this case, the soul is mostly just being distorted by using an invested spike.  In the cosmere, the body will attempt to match the soul, and so a twisted soul (spiritual aspect of a person) can have profound effects on both mind and body.